The natives of Skype involved in numerous projects, including a venture capital Fund with capital of more than $1 billion, and a startup developing robots that deliver meals in the UK and California. In the so-called “Skype mafia” consists of dozens of people, but some of them are particularly noteworthy.

Skype was founded in early 2000-ies, and in 2005, eBay purchased the company for $2.6 billion In this transaction, the founders Zennstrom Niklas and Janus Friis earned about $390 million each. At that time it was the largest transaction for the sale of a startup, not only in the European IT market but on the international, which was restored after the collapse of the dot-com.

The story deals quite fascinating. Zennstrom and Friis retained rights to some of Skype technology, and this was extremely important when the relationship between eBay and Skype got corrupted. The company’s founders sued eBay lawsuit for wrongful use of their intellectual property. Businessmen claimed that Skype without permission used part of their code of law which remained for them.

In 2009, eBay sold 70% of Skype for $2.75 billion to a group of investors called Silver Lake, which included some of the co-founder of Skype. Then eBay and Silver Lake in 2011 he sold the whole company — it was bought by Microsoft for $8.5 billion, Silver Lake is definitely out of the transaction a winner.

In our gallery of the ten most influential and successful members of the “Skype mafia”.

PayPal Vs. Skype

A summary of the success of the “Skype mafia” is quite impressive. But was she as influential as the “PayPal mafia”?

Skype was sold for a much higher amount than that which was assessed after the PayPal IPO ($1.5 billion). But the creators of PayPal — Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Max Levchin, Ken Hawari, Luke Nosek and Yu pan later founded several companies worth billions of dollars, which did not come from Skype.

Some say that the “Skype mafia” was interested in building a prosperous European it ecosystem, while the “PayPal mafia” sought only to help the rich and members of his small private club.

Mark Tłuszcz, partner at Mangrove Capital and Chairman of the Board, Israeli website Builder believes that former employees of Skype did not create many successful it companies. “Skype is a missed opportunity, says Batory. The founders of PayPal, in turn, created Tesla, SpaceX and Palantir, which together cost about $100 billion

Tłuszcz says Zennstrema would cost more to invest in those people who worked for him. “The draw was the opportunity to become a seed investor for the greatest geniuses, and he didn’t take it — said the investor. He’s never even invested in TransferWise. He could say: “I will use this network and say to all the staff Skype, anyone who wants to raise money — here’s a million dollars if you will come to me”. He never did because he is not a man. Generosity is not in his nature“.

The representative Zennstrema disputes this and claims that the businessman has invested in projects of several former employees of Skype.

Simon cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, a venture capital firm, which has approximately the same assets, and Atomico, said that the European venture capital industry would not have achieved their current level of development without Skype. “Skype was a turning point in the development of the European venture” — he said
European IT sector has attracted a lot of attention, but still lags behind USA and China. Europe does not have enough companies like Apple, Amazon or Alibaba.

Since the sale of Skype, it took almost 15 years. Now, when Europe has a record number of companies worth billions of dollars, the current leaders of the European IT industry can support new generation investments. Perhaps, then, the technology sector in Europe will finally be able to reach maturity.

Translation Natalia Balabanchevo

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